“I really enjoy listening to a flutist who I imagine the instrument being their inner voice.”

Today I bring you a new interview to an exceptional flutist. She studied, among others, with Auréle Nicolet. She was principal flute at the Staatskapelle Weimar (Germany) and later a professor at the Hochschule für Musik „Franz Liszt“ in Weimar.

Currently, Wally Hase is a professor at the „Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien“ in Vienna (Austria).

A pleasure to interview Wally and read all her experiences. Remember that at the end of this interview, she will answer the questions you asked her on my Facebook page and on my Instagram!

I hope you like the interview to Wally Hase! 🙂

  • How did you begin in music?

I grew up in a family where music was omnipresent. My father was a bassoonist and my mother has always loved music. My siblings are musicians, too; for the past few years one of my sisters has lived  in Los Angeles and works as a director and producer. I am the youngest of 4 children and everybody seemed to always practice an instrument in our house. At the age of 9 I wanted to do the same. As luck would have it, I got a flute into my hands; a colleague of my father suspected that the flute might be the right choice for me. And in hindsight I have to say, he was absolutely right and I fell in love with this instrument immediately. Until now, it is particularly the sound and being able to mold and create this sound myself, that I feel honoured to be able to do every day. 

  • You were teaching in Weimar. How was your experience there? Also you are since 2018 flute teacher in the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. Are you happy to be there? What is your evaluation of the first years?

Weimar was a huge step in my life. Even before completing my studies, at the age of 22, I was appointed principal flute in the Staatskapelle Weimar in Germany, a position I held until 2009. In 2000, I was appointed professor of flute at the University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar as well as guest professor for flute at the University of Music Krakow, Poland (2014-2018).

I am deeply grateful about these intensive years filled with many experiences and fantastic colleagues. In Weimar, I had a maximum of 6 students, which is probably one of the biggest differences to Vienna, where I have 14 students at the moment. The University in Weimar is a comparatively small institution where everybody knows each other. When I was appointed professor of flute at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna,I realized very quickly that being part of one of the oldest and most prestigious educational establishments for classical music worldwide was a different situation, and therefore pretty overwhelming at first, to say the least.

It is, however, a huge privilege to teach there, and includes fantastic posibilities to realize projects for my students. It felt easy to get adjusted to my new surroundings and colleagues, and collaboration with other instruments and departments rounds up a constant flow of projects, concerts and lectures. The range of opportunities that the University offers is great and diverse. In addition, Vienna is one of those places that still have an air of a constant flow of cultural activities right at your doorstep. Going out to the theatre, concerts or museums is what everyone seems to be doing here every single night of the week; not to mention that its size allows you to walk or get to any chosen cultural activity by public transport easily and often in a matter of minutes! Vienna is a beautiful and inspiring city in any case! As I was just beginning to fully enjoy this lifestyle and establishing more connections with chamber music colleagues in and around the University, I miss rehearsing and playing concerts even moredue to the Corona Pandemic.

  • What can you recommend to the flutists who want to learn with you?

First of all „I am looking forward to meeting you anywhere – almost, anytime.“
Please do not be afraid of making mistakes – everybody is in a constant process of learning their whole life. You will gain experience and proficiency with a positive attitude.

  • What do you look for in a new student in your class?

I am always looking for authenticity and determination in students, but I am also looking for real musicians. The latter might sound like a very obvious requirement, but students seem to get caught up in I technical competition sometimes and loose the bigger picture. I am looking for flutists who tell stories and share emotion through their instrument. I really enjoy listening to a flutist who I imagine the instrument being their inner voice.

  • How do you see the current musical outlook?

I want to stay positive, because at the moment, in the time of Corona, so many people are filled with doubt and fear. Many of my friends and colleagues are freelancing and I’m very impressed at how creative and brave they are. They are forced to create a new sense of being that includes their love for music and their instrument in a much more abstract way than most of them have ever dreamed of.

On the other hand, we have to get used to the idea that the situation for us musicians won’t be easy, even after Corona. Everyone is different; that makes our life as musicians and teachers so very interesting and exciting.

  • And here you have some of the social media questions:

Paulo José Loggio: How important is for you the body when you study and when you play in a concert?

Very important. My own practice is designed to strengthen and focus on the imagination of playing in a „big hall“. I use all my possibilities of sound production, from a tender pp up to a strong and bright ff.

In order to do so, we need to focus foremost on a stable posture: I stand upright, my eyes are looking towards „the balcony in my imaginary theatre”, I have a strong back, my shoulders and arms are relaxed, my chest and throat  are open – so I can breath very profoundly and noiselessly and I can use my body resonance.

Before I play, I imagine the most beautiful note possible without actually playing it. Then, in a relaxed and open way, I breathe in deeply and play the most beautiful forte or piano… or whatever colour and character I want to play. The imagination of sound should be reflected in the breathing already.

Aída Escudero: How is your daily routine? Which methodes do you recommend/work?
@Araucarialuna: Which is your favourite book to practice the sound?

I have to admit that I don’t really like a strict daily routine very much. Every day I am looking for a interesting and different way to practice. I change my exercises often and try to make up new ones for particular pieces every day. I think sigh reading is a fantastic way to warm up. I use a lot of Moyse, Taffanel-Gaubert, Reichert, different studies (Paganini, Andersen, Donjon etc.)

I do believe that we don’t need to look for written down exercises all the time. Coming up with tunes that you remember having played in the past and transforming and adjusting them to different emotions can be an excellent way to expand your ability to create a variety of different sounds.

Every day I search for colours, sounds and other physical means of expression that might help carry my thoughts and musical ideas and turn them into a kind of message that speaks to an imaginary audience.

  • And finally, some advise for our readers.

Everybody ought to try to find ways to find joy in their own decisions. I wish for all young musicians to finish their studies with a certain know-how that will allow them to be free spirited, inspiring and generally well-prepared musicians and human beings, for the ups and downs that they will encounter in their careers.

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